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February 19, 2010

Pottery Studio meets Live National TV

Yesterday officially marked the day when one personally hand thrown pot made it to national TV and was touched by a current Latin singer heart throb David Bisbal. Maybe I should hold the pot and sell it on ebay :)! MY POTS ARE FAMOUS! At least that is how a felt for a few seconds. My glorious 5 minutes of fame happened back stage while I threw the pot amongst the middle of all the dancers, and crew, and production, and police running around backstage in preparation for the show. I started at 7:10 and milked it to about 7:25, when I just realized there is only so many times I can move my hands up and down without doing anything that someone might eventually realize I am just trying to show off.

There were tons of people staring mesmerized asking the same questions “have you done the ghost scene”, “can I be patrick”, “whats the biggest pot you have thrown, “that doesn’t look so hard”…. Just your typical questions as people scurried around doing last minute touch ups of the vignettes, and the first wave of musicians where waiting for the show to begin and the dancers ran around the concrete hallways getting ready, the escorts each dressed in black with a white armband and a clear ear piece waited for their appointed star to arrive. Police where milling around there since morning bored and yawning and big burly body guards stood outside of the dressing rooms for each of the stars that lined the concrete circular hallway that wrapped around the right side of the stage beneath all the bleachers. Funny I never considered that above us all the time were people taking their seats and snapping photos of the stage and trying to see if the see anyone famous in the pit at the bottom of the arena were all the families of the famous people where taking there seats.

It all started 2 weeks ago when we got a funny call from Univision asking if we rent equipment. A few phone calls and emails later I was told that this singer David Bisbal was going to perform his new song “La Princessa” and their vignette prop designer wanted to have la princessa be and artist a-la Ghost style. Of course the little cynic in me rolled her eyes at the reference that we get constantly when people come in to the studio. However the idea of bringing pottery back into the lime light was really appealing. The set designers came in to our studio picked the pieces he liked off the walls Alan’s, Mike’s, Mindy’s, Janice’s work… At lot of pieces were taken and packed up with one of our pottery wheels and carted it off to the Miami arena earlier this week.

I was present for 3 hours to rehearse the 20 second scene. I setup the form on the wheel and a beautiful little teeny cute model sat there and played with the pot while David did his thing and in the last 30 seconds of his solo he sashayed up to her and wrapped his arm around hers on the wheel and tried really really hard not to get his manicure messed up. All in all I think in total there was 20 seconds of actual footage of the ceramic pieces and the wheel.

It is awe inspiring to see an event of this magnitude unfold before my eyes. Being a TV viewer I have never been back stage on anything and could never begin to fathom the scope of scale of an event like this. I imagine it similar to what a doctor must experience the first time they actually operate on someone and get to see and touch the inner workings of a living breathing body. In my virgin view point, I though that it would be oh so glamorous. And it was anything but, it is an industry, and army of people and ants running back an forth as support crews for each of the 20 segments that were aired last night. They live the night on this precarious tight balancing rope. Each segment has a crew waiting eagerly behind the stage for their turn up to bat. There are the set designers, the grips, the muscle, the production staff for the segment, the escorts, and of course the talent. And plenty of press. Each star has a crew of escorts and entourage ensuring they say hi to the right press people, wave and look pretty for the 5 minutes they are queued behind the stage before they launched on to the stage to read 10 lines off the teleprompter, and then quickly ushered to a press booth where they are grilled by the network about the 30 second experienced, ushered back behind the stage for another photo op with the rest of the press and then back through the bowels of the arena into their little holding cells to catch their breath or await their limo to be pulled up outside.

I really almost felt pity for them as I viciously snapped my own photos of the back of Gloria Estefans head in the frenzy of activity. I am sure that between the blinding stage lights and flashing cameras pointed at her bored smiling face, she would never be able to pick me our of a line-up. I imagine though that at one point she and all the stars like her used to love doing that kind of stuff. Watching it unfold now it seems there is little to no liberty and humanity in the whole event. It is big marketing machine produced by an army of people people dressed in black with little earbuds talking to the heel of their palm, planning for months and then scurrying about for days in the arena fine tuning all the timing to orchestrate a magnificent show for maximum $$$. And it was magnificent, the bright stage the lights, the displays, and fireworks, even a Tesla Coil crackling and hissing. The front was beautiful where the cameras live but behind the stage, it was concrete and black, and gray, and sparsely lit and messy with trash cans and bathrooms with sticky floors and no toilet paper. The people were real and not done up so clean and precise in designer name clothes, trying to sell a product, and a lifestyle. It was real life in the back stage, more like everything we experience everyday, and the front, the stage is what we see on the cover of magazines. It is interesting to see it all without the makeup and the lights, without all the glamour, in its shear chaos it is like everyday life. And these people put on the cover of magazines for us to wish we were them, they get pushed around and escorted as if they don’t even exist as if they are a product to be shown and sold, but never touched or appreciated.

I relished the whole experience. Seeing the inner workings of it all was sheer joy. My little engineering brain went into overdrive observing, listening, watching and learning. It was all about the engineering design. It was the man behind the curtain. It was all electrical, mechanical, staging, lighting, computing, and people engineering . In seeing this tight running ship pull off 20 musical segments between awards and commercials all tightly orchestrated in time by 100’s of people I realized that the idea of expanding out the pottery studio and planning the space next door doesn’t seem like the big monster that I thought it to be. It is all about perspective and changing the way you view things, and yesterday the part of the bubble of the world I was standing on and observing from was yanked and now it is bigger and things don’t seem so hard as I have made them out to be.

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